This topic has become so important to me I devoted an entire Pinterest board just to rest. And I discovered, in the process of gathering pins and thinking about rest and relaxation, the reason I couldn’t make a homeschool schedule for the year yet. I wasn’t coming at the rhythm of the day or week from a place of REST. Instead, I was coming at it from a place of how to cram all the things three children of wildly disparate ages (ages 7-16) needed into a week or a day or a school year. I still don’t have a rhythm for the school year yet, partially because I don’t know when some of our outside activities will be meeting, but when I do sit down to look at what we can realistically do, I know it will be from a place of what we need in terms of rest and relaxation as the foundation for our school year.
Here are some of the things I am thinking about, and maybe some of these will resonate with you….
- Rest during the day. I see many homeschoolers blogging about taking rest during the day, like from 2-4 in the afternoon. This is probably possible for many of you with small children. We always rested after lunch and still tend to have a rest period, but I am guessing in order to take an entire afternoon , people who are able to rest from 2-4 each day either are not homeschooling multiple children in grades 7 and above, or perhaps don’t have high schoolers, (or maybe they do, but perhaps their children aren’t super involved in outside activities or taking any outside classes?). So perhaps, like me, you need to think creatively about the day and week in order to acheive rest. For example, a four day school week would allow for a day of rest. Rest could be after lunch or before dinner in a daily schedule, even if it isn’t a huge span of time.
- NAP. Yup, take a half-hour nap every day. Even this small amount of time can be beneficial!
- It may not work for you, but when my children were smaller, early bedtimes were really helpful. And even now, I feel no need to entertain the children who are grades 7 and up. I may head to bed before them, we may relax together and we usually do talk at night, but I also rest and pursue my own creative interests before bed as well, and so do they.
- Choose a weekend day to rest and relax without commitments to be somewhere. We are busy on Sundays, so Saturdays are our restful day, and this school year I intend to really guard that day as much as possible.
- A restful morning and evening routine to begin and end the day. I would like to write more about this in a coming post, but in the meantime if you have a restful morning or evening routine, would you care to share it in the comment box?
- Leaving time and space in the margins of life. Scheduling less days of school per week, less weeks of school per school year, and scheduling in time to do next week or next block’s lessons each week (NOT on the restful weekend day), and vacations.
- Work in seasons. For our family, horseback riding doesn’t really work in seasons, so we don’t get much rest from that, but some activities do work in seasons of six to eight weeks and you don’t have to fill every six to eight week period up! This is a great thing about an activity like 4-H. Working in seasons also means we rest more in the summer to balance out a busier school year. We cannot go all out, all year round. So, choose your extracurricular activities and volunteer commitments wisely.
- Build your school routine around self-care; do not leave self-care to be last on the list. Self-care are the beginning and end marks to your day.
- Use planning ahead of time to increase your sense of relaxation. For me, part of this is keeping my house clean and the laundry done each day (this may not be your thing). If I do a little each day, and my children help each day, then it is relatively neat and clean. I also like to food prep for the week on Sunday afternoons.
- Use tools to increase relaxation . Things that help me include: healthy meal prep, exercise, yoga and stretching, relaxing music, essential oil diffusions, Epsom salt baths, creating.
- Create routines around mindfulness – these can be built into those morning and evening routines, and the special routines that you develop so you can rest and relax when the moment is more stressful (emergency stress routines).
- Enjoy being with friends without children involved. Sometimes, especially as children get older, having time to talk without children present is really valuable. Socialization and play for mothers is just as important as it is for children.
I would love to hear your favorite restful strategies or comments.
Blessings and love,